On February 4, 1945, the leaders of the USSR, the US and Great Britain – Josef Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill – met in Yalta in the Crimea to work out the plans to completely defeat Germany and to discuss the international situation and the post-war future.
Roosevelt wanted to continue collaboration with the USSR. The world’s two strongest countries, the US and USSR, could regulate the system of international relations together. However, in spite of the collaboration, the US had informed Great Britain about the development of the atom bomb, but concealed the existence of the project from the USSR.
The main aims of the conference were to establish new state borders in Europe and to divide it into spheres of interest. All three leaders understood that after the war the union between USSR and the West would break up, so they needed to develop rules to guarantee the stability of the new borders. The US and Great Britain were apprehensive about the possible expansion of Soviet influence, so these rules were made to protect their spheres of interest from the USSR.
The “Big Three” decided to occupy Germany and to divide it into occupation zones. To make sure Germany was unable “to disturb the peace ever again,” the Big Three was going to disband the German army and to abolish its General Staff, to take the German industry under control and to “wipe the Nazi party off the face of the Earth.” When the Germans get rid of Nazism, the final protocol of the conference said, they would again rank high among the world nations.
The Germany was divided in 1949. The occupation zone of Great Britain, the US and France became the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Soviet occupation zone became the German Democratic Republic. The border between these countries went across the capital of Germany, and each republic got its own part of Berlin.
The question about Poland was more complicated. War turned Poland, one of the largest Central European states, into a small country in Northeastern Europe. In 1945, Germany had been occupying Poland for six years, but Poland still had its own government stationed in London. Both Europe and the USSR recognized that government as legal, so it had the right to came back to power after the war. Nevertheless, Stalin wanted to create a new government in Poland, and made Churchill and Roosevelt agree with his decision. When Churchill noticed that only a third of all Poles would support the pro-Soviet government, Stalin assured him that there would be several democratic leaders in it. Several years later, the USSR took Poland under its control and established communism.
The Soviet Union also agreed to participate in the military operations against Japan. According to the conditions of participation laid out by Stalin, the USSR was to take the disputed territories in the Far East – Southern Sakhalin, the Kurils and the fleet base in Port Arthur. The US, which carried out those operations, was interested in cooperating with Soviet Union, so Roosevelt agreed with Stalin’s conditions.
Stalin raised the point about reparations, but the sum of them was not assigned at that conference. The only decision about it, made by the Big Three, was that half of all reparations from Germany should be paid to the USSR.
During that conference the United Nations Organization was founded. This organization was to prevent the borders between states and spheres of interest from moving. On June 26, 1945, fifty countries signed the UNO charter.
In addition, Roosevelt presented a document called the “Declaration of Liberated Europe”, that determined the politics of the winners at the occupied lands. It said that the US, USSR, Great Britain and France should together help the European nations to get rid of the Nazi threat, to restore the economy and culture. Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill signed the declaration, but did not put the ideas described in it into action. Instead, after WWII ended, a conflict between the US and the Soviet Union broke out that lasted for about 50 years – “The Cold War”.